Spotted Lanternfly Control & Treatments


Spotted LanternflySpotted lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma delicatula, is an invasive planthopper, native to China, that was first detected in September, 2014 in Berks county which is located in southeastern Pennsylvania. Populations of this damaging invasive species have grown in massive quantity and have now spread to other Pennsylvania counties and other states, such as Delaware, New York and Virginia. This pest has caused concern in both the agricultural and residential communities. It has already impacted the grape, hops, logging, fruit, and several other Pennsylvania industries.

Identification & Life Cycle

Fortunately there is only one generation of Spotted Lanternfly per year. The eggs are laid in late fall and hatch in the spring. Egg masses are laid on hard surfaces (trees, decks, houses, outdoor equipment, rocks, etc.) and protected with a mud-like covering. Each egg mass contains 30–50 eggs. After hatching and before reaching adulthood, SLF goes through four nymph stages. Nymphs are small (¼ to ½ inch) and hard to find. The first three stages (instars) are all black with white spots, and the last instar is red with white Photo credit here Spotted Lanternfly Management for Homeowners dots and black stripes (Figure 1). SLF adults emerge in July and are active until winter. This is the most obvious and easily detectable stage because they are large (~1 inch) and highly mobile. Adults have black bodies with brightly colored wings. Only the adults can fly. Because SLF adults jump more than fly, their wings often remain closed. SLF wings are gray with black spots, and the tips of the wings are black with gray veins.

Spotted Lanternfly Life Cycle


Spotted Lanternfly do not attack all trees, however since they are still new to Pennsylvania and are under ongoing research, the list of host trees that they favor will likely grow with time. Their favorite tree is the Tree of Heaven. This tree in a non-native species that in itself is invasive. This is why many government agencies are removing Tree of Heaven, leaving only a few that have been treated with insecticides as trap trees. Here is a list of known host trees that Spotted Lanternflies tend to like.

Tree of heavenBirchLindenBlack Walnut
WillowPeachesBlack GumOak
MapleAmerican BeechDogwoodSassafras
Tulip PoplarAppleHickoryWhite Ash
PlumsPineService Berry 

Sooty Mold from Spotted LanternfliesIn addition to the damage caused by feeding, Spotted Lanternfly excrete honeydew. Honeydew is essentially sugary water but can cause diseases and sooty mold on plants below infested trees. Honeydew that falls on objects such as decking can stain and be very hard to remove. You will be able to see the honeydew dropping under a tree with an active infestation of Spotted Lanternfly.